letters to the editor 88.
(photo credit: )
How will they pay?
Sir, - Re "PM: Speed up resettlement process for Gaza evacuees" (October 30).
How lovely that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wants to cut the red tape the Gaza evacuees are facing. Perhaps he can take a second look at the compensation packages they were given in the first place.
My cousin from Ganei Tal is paying $450 a month for the caravilla in Yad Binyamin that she was "given." She told me that much of the compensation money they received (and they have only received a portion of that) went straight to paying off mortgages on their homes in Ganei Tal. More of that money is going to paying various expenses, like storage of their possessions. It will take at least three years for their houses to be built.
Just how does Olmert think they'll be able to pay for building those new houses even if the red tape is cut?
"Hirchson presents NIS 295 billion budget" and "University cuts said to cause mass exodus of academics" (October 31) discuss some of the issues in Israel's economy and society. But unless we get to the root of the matter, perhaps 70 percent of our society being unproductive and insufficiently trained and educated, we won't be able to move on to a healthier economy and society.
In Buffalo, New York, in 1976 the Bethlehem Steel Company closed, causing about 50,000 steel workers to become unemployed, thus changing the culture and economy of the region forever.
Buffalo survived economically because of the character and perseverance of her leaders and citizens, who gradually replaced steel production with hi-tech, education and whatever other economic activity the city could secure.
But what about the displaced workers? In both countries, these and all workers will need to constantly upgrade their skills and education, and continue to learn new skills and even professions their whole lives, with the help (hopefully) of the government, unions and various organizations.
Otherwise these displaced workers will be condemned to an unproductive and unhealthy lifestyle, and become a terrible drag on the economy of the nation. Moving even a few billion shekels from one place to another or one group or another will not solve this root problem. It can only be solved with a full national effort to provide the means for virtually all of our citizens to become productive and continue to be productive their whole lives.
PETER SHMUEL LEVITT
Rerun of the '30s
Sir, - Re "Israel's encirclement" (October 31).
I am convinced that we are experiencing a rerun of the 1930s. Chamberlain has a different name, and so does Adolf, and the name of the "war-mongering" prophet is not Churchill but Caroline. Must history repeat itself? Where are the outraged leaders and citizens of this country, before it is too late?
Sir, - Re "Rejected: Solomon's Wisdom" (October 30).
Shmuley Boteach's article raises some questions. Did the unfortunate girl who died of anorexia at the seminary have problems before she left the US? Do the seminary authorities have complete medical histories of those accepted to study with them?
Furthermore, a lot of religious girls are pressured by their parents about their appearance with regard to their prospects on the marriage market. It's not only the yeshiva boys who should be educated that real beauty is internal.
IPO should be apolitical
Sir, - Re "Fans ask IPO to denounce occupation" (October 30).
The petition of the fans of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra requesting that it denounce Israel's West Bank presence on its forthcoming trip to the US is an outrage. The IPO should be completely apolitical. Its purpose is to give us pleasure and musical appreciation and not meddle in politics.
I would suggest to these Israeli women now living in the US who so enjoyed the IPO concerts return to live in Israel and continue to enjoy them even more.
Don't trust the EU
Sir, - EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana makes the breathtaking claim that Hamas seeks "the liberation of their people, not the destruction of Israel" ("Hamas doesn't want to destroy Israel," October 27). This despite the fact that its charter calls for the murder of Jews (Article 7), the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and cites in support of its program the classic anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Article 32).
Since September 2000, Hamas has killed more Israelis than any other Palestinian terrorist organization, murdering 442 Israeli men, women and children in scores of suicide bombings, drive-by shootings and missile assaults. Saying that Hamas seeks to liberate Palestinians when Hamas itself sees the liberation of Palestinians as consisting of the elimination of Israel is a distinction without a difference.
Solana has proven by his own example that Israel cannot put its trust in the statements and policies of the EU. Israel must never trust the judgment of people like him, who are either astonishingly na ve or malicious, if not both. His statement, as foreign policy chief of the EU, is the best reason why the United States must put an end to attempting to forge a common policy toward the Arab war on Israel with the EU, UN and Russia, all of whom have proven their bias and lack of honesty in their dealings with Israel.
MORTON A. KLEIN
Zionist Organization of America
Still the policy
Sir, - In his analysis of Avigdor Lieberman and his election promises, Anshel Pfeffer has got it only partly right ("Et tu, Avigdor?" October 24). The few quotations he brings showing that Lieberman would not be breaking any election promises are selective and not really representative of the impression created with the electors.
Pfeffer has certainly got it right when he claims that for Lieberman the letter "P" is most important, namely "power as in President Putin," thus his idea of a presidential system for Israel (and for him).
On the other hand, Pfeffer has got it wrong when he writes: "Now that disengagement has been officially discredited" - it may be discredited but it is still the official government policy.
The proof of this was given by the prime minister in his address to the Knesset at its opening. He said: "My government's agenda is very clear and well known to everyone." This does not sound like he has seen the light and has discarded the idea. Meanwhile we see that the government is planning to go ahead and remove some settlements, which is just the start of disengagement.
Lieberman, by joining the government, may not have lost votes among the Russian electors, but I have no doubt that he has lost quite a few Israeli voters.
My 91-year-old father is unable to get travel insurance in the UK to come here. I have been told that no insurance agent in Israel will insure anyone older than 80. My inquiries to travel and insurance agents here drew a blank. If anyone has solved this problem, please leave a message at (02) 652-8699.
REUVEN BEN DOV